My resistence to Adele was not an inability to recognize her talent. "Rolling In The Deep" is about as good as a pop song gets. "Someone Like You," on the other hand, still sounds like your run of the mill song about heartbreak. I find nothing spectacularly original about it, though I guess everyone has the right to get one of those songs out of their system.
It's not that I don't find "Someone Like You" convincing. I don't even dislike it. It's just that a song like that, simple and emotional, should get kudos for standing apart from the usual studio dreck churned out in painful numbers by the embarrassing roster of nobodies that squat all over the charts. It should not be a song that catapults an artist to uncomfortably high, superstar status, as it did Adele. It's a good song. It's not a great song.
That said, I was charmed and even moved by her live performance at last night's Grammys. But again, is that feeling real? Or am I just happy to not be seeing or hearing the Rihannas, Nicki Minajes and Katy "Fireboobs" Perrys? And when we get right down to it, I wonder if everyone feels the same way. That may not be incredibly fair to Adele, but it isn't such an unreal thought.
As expected, I was blown away by Bruce Springsteen. The song gets better and better, and so does he. But here's a POV from my friend and frequent contributor, Gene Oberto:
Somehow, based on the release of a new video of the already released single, there is a disconnect between the Bruce who writes and performs and the marketing and image department of Bruce, Inc.
Why the need for the second video? It's obvious that the first one was wrong in every sense of the word. It was a fluff shoot to show that the 61 year old "still has it!" An ego shoot of the Boss. It caused confusion with the song's point, with most MSM critics missing the message. Hence, the second video (which should have been the original) to hit the uninitiated in the ways of Bruce over the head. THIS is what we really meant.
I really think that Landau has lost the message. He sat in the audience and declared he saw the future of R&R. Now he seems to want to continue keeping the vision frozen. We fell for the Bruce performer/songwriter. That is the only image I need. They would be better keeping the private Bruce private and let the performing dervish loose. They will never be able to correlate the multi-millionaire with the blue collar kid from Freehold. That boat sailed in 1986.
Another friend made this very simple and oft-heard comment about the awards:
"It's a popularity contest, not a talent contest."
I was a voting member for about 6 years. I've seen the ballots up close. All the singers and songwriters and bands and musicians that we all love are right there for your taking. And all of those fine people who vote, see those names. Yet somehow, the five nominees for "Song Of The Year" were Kanye West (the record came out in 2010), Adele, Mumford & Sons (the record came out in 2009), Bruno Mars (the record came out in 2010) and Bon Iver.
Looking back at the many year-end, "Best of 2011" lists, I find it confounding that so many records that include so many great songs, once again, go unrecognized.
Tom Waits, Ron Sexsmith, John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Wilco, Lindsey Buckingham, Garland Jeffreys, Marianne Faithful, The Strokes, Jane's Addiction, Laura Marling, Neil Finn, Warren Haynes, kd Lang, Gillian Welch, Teddy Thompson, and Paul Simon. You mean none of these people wrote a better song than "All Of The Lights" by Kanye West or "Grenade" by Bruno Mars?
What about "Album Of The Year?"
Is it possible that the majority of Academy thought none of the artists I mentioned made a record as good as these five?
Not even Glen Campbell? Even the MPAA is smart enough to give Oscars to those who might be dying, or even dead. How does a record like "Ghost On The Canvas" get zero mention?
You'd think that I'd get it by now. But I don't.
I was thrilled...over the moon actually that the Rebirth Brass Band picked up the first ever Grammy for "Regional Roots" record.
And...my friend Maurice Brown got his first Grammy as part of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, when they picked up "Best Blues Album." It was one of my faves of 2011, even though it's not a blues album. But... oh well.
Finally, it wouldn't be a Burning Wood post if I didn't make an about face on at least one record. I paid some attention to what reader "Robin" had to say about Sir Paul's 'Kisses On The Bottom." Now, I didn't trash the record. Not even close. I just wasn't moved by it...then. I've stayed with it and Robin, you are so right.
Paul McCartney is Paul McCartney for a reason. Last night's live performance of his original "My Valentine" was sublime. Moreover, if "My Valentine" was slapped on to the end of any one of Macca's pop albums, every fan would be reduced to mush. It's an absolutely gorgeous tune, with hints of "And I Love Her" and just about all of the legendary Paul ballads, and I'm afraid not many will notice that, as it sits aside a repertoire of songs you think you don't want to hear.